Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Birth of an American Hockey Fan Week Five Point Five:The Trade Deadline

I'd like to think that the NHL Trade Deadline coming so early in my education might offer up some sort of naive protective shield, sort of a blissful ignorance thing going on, but there's no flowers for Algernon today- I know a bad, or at the very, very, net-is-half full best, questionable move when I see one. The loss of Marty Biron this afternoon and the subsequent pickup of a goalie that no one can describe to me without spitting does not bode well* for my Sabres.

But think of poor Biron (though not often. He's a Flyer now, and must learn to be ignored). Impending free agency aside, poor guy's putting in a solid backup netminding performance, on his way to the playoffs and a possible Cup win, then one day Darcy Regier pulls him aside, pats him on the ass (I'm taking a few poetic liberties here), and condemns him to the bottom of the conference. I know rough times are ahead for Sabres fans, and woe to the man in charge of massaging Ryan Miller down at the end of his now incredibly-full days, but have some compassion for someone who truly got pooch-screwed today. Maybe it's time to trade in the blank mask for a new one:

All I've got to say is, Sabres management better be blowing that $2.2 mill on something pretty sweet for the fans next year, like a shiny new Amerk or four.

*By "does not bode well", I mean we'll sail into the playoffs with slightly less ease. C'mon people, it's just a backup goalie.

Trade winds blow, and so do the Blackhawks

Well, it's that time of year again...time for another Great Chicago Fire Sale. It's always sad to see an original six team struggling like the Blackhawks are. They've already moved Bochenski, Smolinski, and would probably even deal Gore Verbinski if they had his rights. Or if he was a hockey player.

There are a number of theories floating around about why Chicago is perenially in the basement, but I think it can all be traced back to one serious jinx:

It's hard to come back once you've been Belush'ed.

In other trade news, it looks like Buffalo is officially putting ALL their eggs in Ryan Miller's basket. They've sent Biron to Philly, and picked up a new backup for Miller.

Wait a sec, Ty Conklin? That Ty Conklin?

Yes. That Ty Conklin.

You can practically feel the chill running down the collective spines of the city of Buffalo...and rightly so. A backup for an all-star goaltender only needs to be able to do one thing: hold the fort and finish a playoff game in the event of an injury to the starter. I know what you're asking yourself. By "hold the fort," does he mean "vacate the net so Rod Brind'Amour can pot an easy layup for the game winner?"

No. No I do not.

Seriously, that is a mind-boggling move. It's times like this when I'm extra glad to be a Devils fan. Trade deadline day is the one day a year when I will cop to the Devils being boring...they're almost never involved in any of the blockbuster deals. The one exception being 2003, when Lou sent two-thirds of the A line packing...and we all remember how that turned out:

OK, well, I remember. Most of you probably weren't watching.

For all of today's exciting trade deadline action, check out TSN's soothingly graphical Trade Tracker.

UPDATE: Looks like the Pens are loading for bear...grizzled vet Gary Roberts, fistic winger Georges Laraque, and 3 PM is still hours away.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Birth of an American Hockey Fan Week Five: The Fight

Let me just start this off by saying I missed this fight. I’m not proud of it, I’m not going to make any excuses, I’m not even going to say anything derogatory about the Bruins. I’m just going to say that this was my one big opportunity for a gong show, my one chance to stand up in a bar and scream and shake my fist in rage, and instead I was in my pajamas with a cup of tea, watching the highlights on SportsCenter, gently waving my mug around in mild idignity. If I learned one lesson, it’s that I should never, ever miss a game of hockey, ever again.

That being said, I think SportsCenter did a halfway decent job of getting the highlights of the game across—as in, what game? There was a fight! And a shootout!—and some webrounding today has filled in the missing blanks, those blanks being alternate angles of dudes punching each other. Now it’s no secret that I’m in this partially for the fights (American Boxing Fan? Call me.), but I had no idea how massive a brawl could get, and how accepting, even encouraging the officials, coaches, and commentators are when it comes to the use of fists. Sure, Drury went down thanks to a late hit—a minor hit, really, I’ve been groped worse on the subway—but the second the commentator called fair game on some retribution, it turned the ensuing free-for-all ballbreaking into a justified, almost noble cause. Hell, even after the fight, after the penalty minutes, the delay, the stitches, the shootout, Lindy Ruff (nicknamed Lindy McKickYourAss by the Earl after I amateurishly stated that “Lindy Ruff” sounded like a girl’s name or a swing dance) was still roaring about codes of honor. And that’s what makes hockey great- grudges get held, motherfucker.

And this wasn’t just a hastily thrown together slapfest. This was cold, premeditated, first degree fighting. The Sabres adjusted their lineup specifically for melee. I had no idea that ability to punch a guy in the mouth was considered a measurable tool in hockey, but I’m glad for whoever did the research. The sheer scope of the fight required viewings from multiple sources, and if a dozen guys all trying to spill blood on the ice weren’t shocking enough, when Ray Emery took his helmet off and revealed that there’s a black man playing hockey, well, I damn near shit my pajama pants.

Now, I know we’re talking some Montague-Capulet shit here, but I’m just a little bit in love with Emery right now. Not only does the man remain standing in a fight with a left wing, he actually tears his gloves off in the manner in which one would envision when using the phrase “the gloves came off”. On top of that, the look of sheer, carnal glee on his face as he made the trek across the ice to wail on Biron says “I don’t get to do this nearly enough”, and he kept it there all through his followup match with Peters. Have you ever seen a man smile as he’s getting punched in the face repeatedly until tonight? Has any single display of emotion more fully embodied the sport? I’m a Sabres fan, don’t get me wrong, but it’s a proud night to be from Ottawa, and they don’t get a lot of those.

As for the shootout…jesus, who cares? What a fight.

Birthing Status: Asking for an Epiderral

Brawl? What brawl?

Well, Jen is going to be posting her take on best brawl of the 2007 season which went down last night in Buffalo, and according to NHL video, isn't worthy of even a few seconds in it's highlight package.

Seriously, a goalie fight doesn't qualify as a highlight?

At one point, Ryan Miller is in the game. Hey NHL, once again, you're doing your fans a disservice.

I don't care if Biron had dropped his pants and rode his hockey stick like a pony, if a team switches goalies, that needs to make the highlight reel.

Christ, even ESPN has video coverage.

Here it is, from, via my buddy Jack.

UPDATE: There are other clips up on YouTube that include the Drury hit, but I like this one for that great Buffalo announcer, and the fact that you can hear Lindy Ruff very clearly screaming "Don't go after our fucking captain!" Plus, how great is it that standing right between the two coaches, looking a little uncomfortable in his tie, is none other than Rob Ray, who actually played for both coaches.

Get your heads out of your asses, NHL.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

High art, low art.

If you guys are in the mood for some great hockey reporting from an unlikely source, check out Scott Burnside's wonderful look at the original six over at

I'd raise an issue with his assertion in his profile of the Bruins that the losses of free agents Anson Carter, Mike Knuble and Michael Nylander are up on the level of guys like Allison, Guerin and Thornton- (hello? where's Brian Rolston?) but that would be quibbling. It's a great piece with tremendous scope that proves that ESPN's online department, (unlike on-air) seems to still be concerned with all sports.

But if you're looking for something lighter, here's a good little story about a goalie in Western Michigan who went all Ned Braden at the end of a game he wished had been officiated better.

If I had any discipline at all, I'd refrain from making a "six-hole" joke.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Birth of an American Hockey Fan Week Four: Hockey Terminology and Slang

Biscuit in the basket
What it is, as I understand it:
Well, a goal.
How I learned about it: An afternoon spent combing through Wikipedia’s "hockey slang page". When I casually brought it up to a friend, I was informed that I am in no way qualified to offhandedly use the term, and my doing so would demean the sport.

What it is, as I understand it: The area around the goal.
How I learned about it: If you say the word "Hull" or anything phonetically similar to a Sabres fan, it triggers some sort of uncontrollable seizure in which the word "crease" makes an appearance or five, so you kind of pick it up.

Delayed penalty
What it is, as I understand it: Someone does something illegal, but not well enough that they actually gain possession.
How I learned about it: Through Ritch’s clenched teeth as he explained it to me for the fourth time. A good rule of thumb seems to be that if you have to ask what just happened, it was a delayed penalty.

Hand pass
What it is, as I understand it: Catching the puck.
How I learned about it: In wide-eyed awe. They never show that in the movies. It seems kind of a puss out. I bet the Russians don’t hand pass, and if they do, their coach makes them play without a mouthguard or something similarly toughening.

What it is, as I understand it: Apparently, if you’re going to hit the puck really far away, it’d better go into the goal. That’s all I got so far.
How I learned about it: If anyone reads the above explanation and genuinely believes that I fully grasp icing, then I am officially playing "the blind" to your "the blind".

Long change
What it is, as I understand it:
During the second period, the goal switch means players have to skate further to make substitutions, so they get all tired-like.
How I learned about it: An elaborate table diorama involving various pieces of alcohol paraphanalia, set up in a sports bar by the Earl. An effective teaching technique if I’ve ever seen one.

Poke checking
What it is, as I understand it: Dude’s got the puck, someone tries to jab it away. Kinda the basis of the sport, really.
How I learned about it: The second installment of my "Use one new hockey term per game, then squeal with glee and solicit high fives all around" plan. It’s all very rugged.

Power play
What it is, as I understand it:
Simple addition. One team’s got more players on the ice than the other.
How I learned about it: Unlike the rest of hockey’s rules and quirks, Versus actually seems to want its viewers to be better informed when it comes to power plays, and they put a little digital notification beneath the score. It almost makes up for them showing that damn Ovechkin commercial so often.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

McDonald's hates minorites.

OK- so check this out.

I'm on the Sportsnet Canada NHL page today, checking in to see if there have been any big trades today, and what do I see but this contest sponsored by McDonald's.

Apparently, you go to McDonald's, buy a Big Mac, and get a chance to win tickets to an NHL playoff game, a home opener next season, the all star game (big deal) and I think the NHL awards show.

Fuck Morgan Spurlock, I'll eat a Big Mac for that.

So here's the rub (from the OFFICIAL RULES):


In Restaurant: Game Pieces are available when purchasing one of the specially marked food items, while supplies last, at participating McDonald's restaurants in Canada.

Fuck me.

Only in Canada?

And you wonder why the game isn't catching on here in the States. If there is one thing Americans unquestionably adore, it's stuffing our faces with fast food. And yet the NHL can't seem to extend some that action even as far south as Michigan?

Excuse me as I once again gently place this needle upon a well-worn broken record, but Bettman, you are a prize hog of morons.

Of course, that got me wondering, what does McDonald's have to offer us here in America? As it happens, not much in the way of contests. Still, after surfing around their website for a while I found a few things that are definately worth a look. Anybody familiar with McDonald's tremendously tasteful (read: borderline racist) mini-websites designed to appeal (read: pander to?) the African-American and Asian Communities?

If you're like me, that is to say, a fan of gold medal examples of the unique brand of horseshit that results from a combination of clueless corporate culture, niche-marketing disguised as sensitivity and white-hot fear of racial discrimination lawsuits, these websites are kinda wonderful to behold.

I present to you now, courtesy of the Clown himself, the McDonald's marketing websites 365Black and I am Asian.

Hey, McDonald's!

I've you've got so much goddamn love for minorities in this country, how about throwing a bone to an American Hockey Fan!

Either way, it's after 2:00 and I need some lunch.

Guess what I WON'T be having?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The New NHL (kinda sucks)

Well, the earth stood still this week, as Sports Illustrated ran not one, but TWO pieces about hockey:
Ever since the NHL's early days when Montreal's Sprague Cleghorn terrorized the ice, the league has housed pugnacious souls whose primary function is protecting their more skilled teammates by intimidating opponents into steering clear, and delivering swift and terrible fistic punishment upon transgressors.
It's a pretty solid photo gallery of 14 of hockey's all-time great enforcers...solid especially in comparison to recent features in other magazines/glorified-Axe-body-spray-promotional-materials.

So good for SI, but bad for hockey fans...of these 14 tough guys, only 3 are still playing today. The new whistle-happy NHL is never more depressing than when it's juxtaposed against the sport's grand history.

Gordie, forgive Gary Bettman...he knows not what the hell he's doing.

Or alternately, you could just beat the shit out of him.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

It's not all peaches and cream

Backing up Marty Brodeur may be seem like a plum job. After all, even figuring the league minimum, you're basically collecting mid-six figures for riding the pine all season. In fact, Scott Clemmensen probably earns more per minute of ice time than some of the league's biggest names. But let no one say that Clemmensen doesn't leave it all...well, maybe not on the ice, but on the bench, which is right next to the ice:

Backup goaltender Scott Clemmensen has started only two games all season and hasn't played since Dec. 14, but still ended up with eight stitches in his upper lip when he was struck with the stick blade of teammate Travis Zajac while sitting on the bench.

"Travis was carrying the puck past our bench and [Chris] Simon hit him and his stick hit me," Clemmensen explained as his lip still oozed blood after the game. "At least, my teeth are OK."

Give Clemmensen credit, the first period of last week's game against the Islanders, he only made three fewer saves than Brodeur.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Birth of an American Hockey Fan Week Three: Film Foundations

Needing a break from my increasingly pathetic requests for bartenders to change the channel to hockey games, I decided to supplement my education with a little hockey film foundation. Ritch put it to a vote, and though I appreciate whoever was looking out for my womanly sensibilities with the suggestion of The Cutting Edge, time and self-respect constraints narrowed it down to the classics- Youngblood and Slap Shot.

This little experiment was supposed to be about fellow fans offering me insight into the underlying themes of hockey (no guts no glory, size doesn’t matter, etc.) but after popping Youngblood into the Tivo, it became clear to me that you people are just cruel, calculating bastards who have it out for me. Youngblood is an interesting example of a hockey movie in that it eschews showing actual hockey being played in favor of a scene in which one man shaves another man’s balls. They wisely chose not to give the villain of the movie any speaking lines, letting his prominent forehead and stubble convey his inherent evilness, which is just as well, since the Canadian accent is only slightly more menacing than a lisp. If I’ve got one gripe with this movie (complete lack of plot not counting as a "gripe"), it’s the ending. Having lost all interest in Dean Youngblood’s future during the mind-numbingly long farming montage—the fact that the phrase "farming montage" even exists makes the world a bleaker place—I was at least hoping that I could vest myself in the fate of the Mustangs themselves. The last-minute penalty shots seemed promising, but then they went and left those extra three seconds on the clock. Unspectacular game footage aside, this is a sports movie, and sports movies have a pretty tried-and-true formula. Boxing movies end in KOs, baseball movies in home runs, and hockey movies end in penalty shots. Three seconds may not be a lot of time in other sports, but it can be a long time in hockey, and when it’s three seconds of Rob Lowe throwing sloppy punches, it can be downright interminable.

Slap Shot, on the other hand, I was almost looking forward to. I’d been promised both violence and a breakdown of the various penalties, with the added bonus of getting to see Paul Newman fuck some guys up, and I was not let down. Though the romantic subplots dragged a bit—I would have been perfectly content if every female character in this movie were replaced with yet another Hanson brother—after the horror of Youngblood, I was pretty psyched to have a main character that uttered actual dialogue. I’m not saying the movie was perfect; that last-minute perfect storm of a roster in the final game seemed a little suspect, and I’m not sure how a screenwriter can sleep at night knowing he ended a movie with ice dancing. But there was blood and hockey, and a girl can’t ask for much more than that.

Birthing Status: Packing the overnight bag

Friday, February 09, 2007

At least they bothered to correct it.

With apologies to Alan Muir, who wrote a great article recently about spending Superbowl Sunday "poring over two-week-old game film of 16-year-old hockey phenom John Tavares" we all know that Sports Illustrated really isn't the place for hockey.

Check out what ran in the corrections section of the February 12th issue of Sports Illustrated (pictured.)

I get it, guys- you like football.


I don't want to say that hockey gets no respect, but a girl phoned hockey the other day and said... "Come on over, there's nobody home." Hockey went over. Nobody was home.

Incidentally, this was pointed out to me by one of the guys who works over at The Smoking Gun. They have a little bit of experience ferreting out these kinds of errors, like this classic "Dewey Defeats Truman" moment from the Tampa Tribune, published the day after the Lightning won the Stanley Cup. TSG also has a lot of good background on Anna Nicole Smith today.

All I have on the subject are tasteless jokes that probably won't be purchased by TV shows- like this gem:

39 year old Anna Nicole Smith died Thursday after collapsing at a Florida hotel. The hotel is in stable condition.

I'll be here all week!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

More evidence that hockey is not the number one sport among speakers of Portuguese:

Exhibit A:

And Exhibit B:

What gives?

I'll say this to you, people of Portugal, Brazil, São Tomé e Príncipe, Angola, Cape Verde, Mozambique, East Timor, Goa and Macau.

Smarten up.

You're getting screwed by the man.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Mail Bag!

So I got an email from my pal Eric today, a passionate Rangers fan who watched the game against the Devils last night. We had a little back and forth that I thought was interesting enough to reprint here. Here's the highlights of the game in case you didn't catch it:

By the way, I asked him if he was OK with me publishing this, and he said he had no problem with it, so long as he wasn't "disparaged." I immediately agreed, which is why I have selectively edited out all of his statements detailing his love for German fecal-porn.


Eric is actually a very knowledgeable hockey fan and a smart guy. I have no evidence that he has any disposition towards fecal porn of any kind, German or otherwise. Still, I will say that if he was into fecal porn, it would probably be German, seeing as he's the kind of guy who appreciates the best things in life. From wine to beer to food to music to sports to art, he's a class act, and if I applied his appreciation for the other passions he has in life to fecal porn, I'd think he'd go German. I'm just saying that from what little I know about the subject, if you're going to go for fecal porn, the German variety is pretty much universally considered top of the line.

But he's not into fecal porn.

As far as I know.

That's not disparaging, is it?

But I digress- here's his original email:

Subject: Numbers Game

12--The number of shootouts that the Devils have participated in this season. So they play 65 minutes of conservative, "not to lose" hockey so that their hall-of-fame goalie can win them an extra point.

27-The number of consecutive non-sellouts (including last night's game vs. the Rangers) at the Continental Airlines Arena.

Think there's a correlation??

Just asking.

Here's my response:

I dunno- I was in and out of the room, but I thought last night's game
was a pretty good one.

In terms of playing "not to lose hockey" and the negative effect on
turnout, you're playing a bit of a rhetorical game there. I mean, sure
"playing not to lose" sounds boring, but "playing a tough defensive
game with great goaltending" sounds pretty good to me.

I only bring this up because I am against troop buildups in Iraq, yet
am pro-"surge."

Plus, if anything, the Devils defense, at least along the blue line,
has been weaker than it's been in years. When Jagr came out of the
corner on the power play in the last two minutes of overtime and
Brodeur laid down and stopped him, it was every bit as exciting as a
two-on-one break the other way would have been.

(NOTE: That play was inexplicably omitted in that highlight package I found above. Get your heads out of your asses, NHL.)

And, yeah- the Devils don't score much, but they're using what they
have, which is a great goalie. Gauging by the amount of fan jerseys
with goaltenders names on the back around the league, it's hard to
argue that winning with a great goalie is something fans dislike. I
think it's a damn risky strategy, but they seem to have the goalie to
pull it off in the regular season. Whether that's enough to win four
playoff rounds is entirely another.

If I had to pick one factor that negatively effects the gate, it's
probably the fact that the game has officiated out some of the
intimidation that makes it feel just a little bit dangerous.

There were two factors that made me excited to tune in last night, and
it was the addition of Sean Avery and Cam Janssen in the line-ups.

Fights and violence in hockey are the naked pictures in the early
years of Playboy. The fantastic athleticism, grace, speed, finesse,
passing and goal-scoring are the great articles. So- do I read Playboy
for the articles? Yes, I do. But I picked it up for the pictures.

That said, I hear you that losing a game like that in a shootout has
got to be frustrating as hell, and I certainly don't like the way the
points are handed out in the OT/shootout.

Intuitively, it seems to me that there should be only two points up
for grabs in every NHL game. Just as they once argued that a team that
loses in overtime deserves a bit more than a team that gets blown out,
shouldn't a team that wins in overtime get a bit less than a team that
gets it done in 60 minutes? If two teams play to a tie, they each get
half of one point. If there are only two points awarded in every game,
then at the end of regulation, one of the points is gone. OT and the
shootout if necessary, allows them to play for the remaining point.

Therefore, an OT win is not as good as a regular season win, as it's
only worth a point and a half. A team who loses in OT doesn't go home
totally empty. They get half a point.


And he replied:

I thought that Jagr's move out of the corner was his best stuff of the season and that last night's game was pretty darn good, as was the game against Buffalo.

However, would you pay $65 a night to see a team play cautious offense and stifling defense? Great goaltending is only great if the goalie is forced to face quality shots.

I think that three points should be put up for grabs. Win in regulation, get three points. Win in OT or a shootout, get two, with the loser getting one. Make teams play for wins. Or, just play overtime until someone wins, like baseball or basketball.

I'm sure Ben (Devils fan) has something to add to this, and I'm curious about others thoughts on the OT extra point issue. Any ideas, comments, or links to exterior articles or blog posts on the subject are welcome.

PS: Thanks to the Forechecker for giving us props on his Heavy Hitters of the hockey blog list. Also to Jes Golbez, who tagged me on a thread that I didn't have time to respond to. If you're not reading his site, you're missing out.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

"Conserve your precious hatred for the game."

Hey all.

There was only one game on last night, so today is a pretty good day to get some suggestions for Jen, our burgeoning American hockey fan. The category she's writing on this week is "hockey movies and television shows she needs to see."

Obviously, the big two are Slap Shot and Youngblood, but what else is out there?

Anybody remember that two-on-none breakaway from the opening credits of the Hogan Family?

This used to piss the shit out of me as a kid- watch Jason Bateman and some other asshole slam dunk it on this poor goalie.

Where in God's name was the defense?

He clearly wasn't skating hard enough to break a sweat, or even mess up his hair under the helmet, so I suspect he was playing against very young children, or the developmentally disabled.

What a dick.

By the way, the example that Bateman's Dad sets by leaping out of his seat and roaring his approval for such an obvious mismatch could very well have laid the foundation for the rash of violent, thuggish hockey dads that made news in the decades to follow.

Nice work, Hogan family.

There is blood on your hands.

Certainly, this early Simpsons episode has got to be on the list.


Monday, February 05, 2007

Coaches Corner with Don Cherry- Feb 3

Hey all- I found a Youtube account that is posting Coaches Corner on YouTube, so those of us in the States can see it.

By the way, I feel like I must have said this before, but I'll say it again. Wanna improve TV ratings for hockey in the States?

I have three words for you:

Hire Don Cherry.

Huge thank you to joeyjohnson992

Strange things happen around the Buffalo crease

And apparently, not all of them are because of Brett Hull.

Well, Jen, it looks like it's not all peaches and cream being a Sabres fan. Saturday night's matchup against the Devils was a good one. Historically, the Devils have had Buffalo's number, but this year's Sabres are a whole other story. They embarassed New Jersey a couple of months ago in a 3-2 win (coincidentally the same night as the inaugural AHF Buy Me a Beer Challenge) that wasn't nearly as close as that score indicates, so I was really excited to see a fast-paced, tightly-defended game that had a lot of fire, and even more controversy. If this is the eventual conference final, I say bring it on.

First, on Elias' alleged no-goal...come on. That thing was in. No matter where the puck happened to hit Miller's glove (and replays showed it up near the webbing), almost the entire glove was over the line before Miller snapped it back out again. And the resulting closeups of Miller's face showed a man with a secret...those were guilty eyes if I've ever seen them. I don't know why there was no review of the play:

"We all said something right away, that they should go upstairs, but they were threatening delay of game," Scott Gomez said.

Oh, that's right. Because the NHL hates the Devils.

And as for Madden's goal, Miller's argument was basically that he should have gotten a quicker whistle. That's a pretty tough sell. Watch the replay, and count out 1...2...3. It's not even close. Was I pissed when Evgeni Malkin scored his first NHL goal on Marty Brodeur that way? Yes, I was pissed. Did the goal count? Yes, it did:

If the Sabres are going to go all the way this year, Ryan Miller is the key. He is crazy talented, with lightning fast hands, but he's still just a kid, and he needs to work on his temperment. Watch the way Brodeur reacted to Malkin's garbage goal, and compare it to Miller's freakout, and subsequent dressing room bitch-and-moan. Yeah, it hurts to give one up like that, but there was still plenty of hockey left to play. After that goal in the Pittsburgh game, Brodeur didn't give up another, not to Malkin or even Jesus Chr--I mean, Sidney Crosby.

And that's the difference between a rookie and a veteran.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

You know, if I had the hockey package:

I'm prety sure I'd know how to pronounce Ouellet .





Beats the hell out of me.

I guess what I'm saying is I'm not watching the Penguins and the Caps right now.

The only upside is I won't have to see that dreadful Ovechkin/Leonisis at the snack machine ad another 5 times.

Look! The billionaire has his hand stuffed up the snack machine!


I hate to tell you assholes, but the only five words you need with a hockey player and a snack machine are as follows:

"Fuckin' machine took my quarter!"

I mean, for crying out loud.

Why is it that the All Star game gets all the hype with Ovechkin and Crosby playing together, and this game doesn't get on national TV?

I hate RCN cable with every pore of my being.

I'm in a mood.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Birth of an American Hockey Fan Week Two: The First Sabres Game

(Editor's note: Jen is being added as an author, but Blogger's being difficult- here's her post, please ignore the fact that it says I wrote it)

Sitting down with Ritch at a sports bar in front of our own private flatscreen, it became pretty obvious that the Bruins were playing a different game than they had been all week, namely, one in which they appeared to have brushed up on the basic tenets of the sport before taking the ice. By the end of the first period, the Bruins were up by one, and I was confused; with all of the talk surrounding Buffalo’s innate awesomeness, I had expected them to maybe, perhaps, take possession of the puck at some point, but I’m an outsider here, and figured it was just a lack of expertise on my part.

After a second beer and my eleventh explanation of icing—my only idea as to why I am still unable to grasp the concept is that I was raped by a linesman as a child and have since repressed anything to do with zone violations—the Sabres came to, and I was back in the shittalking business. Tim Thomas did some neat trick in which he momentarily removed his arms from their sockets, and Ritch called garbage goal, but I assumed that was because he was losing. At one point Buffalo scored a goal so quickly after the faceoff that I wondered that maybe they’d just left it there from the last one? I’d have asked Ritch, but the discovery of a foot-long hair in his spinach dip had officially moved him to “man while he’s down” status, so I refrained.

Since my love of hockey fights and injuries is rooted in grainy movie and TV memories from the Cold War era, I had been worried that the general uptightedness of the new millennium had dulled the gore, but watching the replay footage of Andrew Alberts taking a puck to the eye on HD, I actually saw the individual capillaries bursting, and as it always does, technology allayed any fears. When the fight broke out, I felt my heart burst with joy at the exact moment that the ref kicked the helmet out of the way, and when Sturm got a stick in the face and blood hit the ice—so red! so clearly defined!-- I was riled up like it was the Thunderdome. Team victory, a fight, a grievous-ish injury, an unexpectedly long happy hour special, and a worthy receptacle for my trash talk right beside me? Happy friggin’ birthday to me.

I have to admit, it was more than a little heartbreaking to see the Bruins do such a sexy little dance for Ritch before blueballing him in the second and third periods, but hockey’s not a game of sympathetic condolences, and in the end, he had to know that choosing a team based solely on geographic proximity to his birthplace might not be such a hot idea next time; also, making a man cry in a sports bar is always a special treat.

Birthing status: Contractions

I don't even want to talk about that Bruins game last night.

I watched it with Jen, and she's taking to this whole "Sabres fan" thing like a fish to water, in that she was talking a lot of shit without really knowing what she was talking about.

More later on that, from both of us.

I will say that the best moment of the night, (for me at least)was Brad Boyes getting in the first fight of his NHL career, and with the crowd roaring, they cut away to a local commerical featuring a contest where you can win a trip to a "Friendly's" ice cream parlour with, wait for it- Brad Boyes!
It was pretty sweet.

When I was growing up, if I wanted somebody to punch me in the mouth and then take me out for ice cream, I'd have to accidentally break a dish in front of my dad.


You see, that's funny becuase I was an abused child.

Oh, and as a follow up to yesterday's hopefulness for hockey on ESPN News, I got the following in an email from my pal Eric, who's the big Ranger fan:

>>Took your advice last night and tuned in (To ESPN NEWS) at 10.

>>They covered:
>>College Basketball
>>NBA All-Star Game Reserves
>>Non-Stories from the Super Bowl
>>College Basketball

>>Then it was 11 and I turned to the Daily Show....

Ahh well, can't say I'm really surprised...